"How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Coincidence is the word we use when we can't see the levers and pulleys."
- Emma Bull
"Of course it's all connected; every facet of life is inextricably linked. It all began at the very beginning and continues today and into the future, all as part of the grand plan, all as part of the grand illusion that will be revealed only when the Creator sees fit."
- Eamonn Gabriel
"Coincidence is best regarded as a crack in time, a gap in time's narrative that requires filling in, elaboration. You see, when the entire story is laid before you the concept of coincidence simply vanishes and understanding takes its place."
- Eamonn Gabriel
© TrineDay

Many readers of my book, A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments, have written to me asking for further information about the varied connections between Frank Olson's death and Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassination. The following is an initial effort to answer those questions, and to further detail these connections. Of course, many of these connections are explained in greater detail in my book.

Often overlooked in the chronology of Lee Harvey Oswald's early years is that when he was 13 years old he lived in New York City for a period of about one year, in 1952-1953. Astute readers will recognize these as critical years in the development and operation of the CIA's MK/ULTRA safe house in New York operated by Federal Narcotics agent and CIA consultant George Hunter White. The first-floor safe house was located in Greenwich Village at the corner of Bedford and Barrow streets (the address was 81 Bedford Street). According to a 1978 CIA document, "an elusive Frenchman who was engaged in the import-export business" owned the two-story, brick apartment house, just a short walk away from one of White's favorite watering holes, Chumley's, perhaps a primary reason for its selection. The building that housed the safe house was torn down several decades ago. Chumley's, with all its ambiance and ghosts, is still there today.

Lee Harvey Oswald at Bronx Zoo
Marguerite Oswald, along with her son, Lee Harvey, moved to New York City from Texas in August 1952. For their first several weeks there, Lee and Marguerite lived in a small apartment, located at 325 East 92nd Street. The cramped apartment was shared with Lee's half-brother, John Edward Pic, his 18-year old wife, and their newborn child. Pic was a Hospital Corpsman and Radioman with the United States Coast Guard. Beginning in early January 1952, and continuing for about four months, Corpsman Pic was assigned to assist with an outbreak of streptococcal at a U.S. Navy installation in Bainbridge, Maryland. Bainbridge is about 170 miles away from Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, Dr. Frank Olson's place of employment. This was at the same time that the CIA initiated Project MK/NAOMI, a joint project with the Agency whereby Fort Detrick's Special Operations (SO) Division, which Olson headed up, aggressively developed a virtual cornucopia of lethal biochemical weapons that the CIA could use in targeting both individuals and large groups of people for incapacitation or death.

Said one SO Division bacteriologist about MK/NAOMI: "Our mission was pretty simple and to the point: to provide the CIA with every means possible to maim or kill targeted groups or individuals through the use of toxic and lethal biochemical agents. We worked hard at it and delivered." One the CIA's earliest documents on the program's genesis uncharacteristically lists its objectives in part: "How to knock off key people...knock off key guys... make death look as if from natural causes... [such as] method to produce cancer... and to make appear as heart attack." The same memorandum cited the case of an imprisoned "Russian... who had been subjected to the routine administration of intimidation, bright lights and more severe roughing, followed by insulin shock."

On site for the Bainbridge epidemic, along with Oswald's half-brother, were bacteriologists from the U.S. Army's biological warfare center, Fort Detrick, as well as physicians from the Armed Forces Epidemiological branch. Dr. Charles H. Rammelkamp, Jr., a member of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board (AFEB), was also there for the outbreak. Readers knowledgeable about the findings of the President's Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, may recall that the committee took a cursory look at experiments reviewed, approved, and sponsored by the New York School of Medicine and AFEB, at the time of Rammelkamp's tenure, on physically healthy mentally retarded children at the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York.

The experiments centered on subject children being fed infected stool extracts obtained from individuals with hepatitis, thus infecting the subject children with the virus. Additionally, Dr. Rammelkamp was at the center of another controversial experiment conducted in the early 1950s. This experiment, conducted concurrently with the Bainbridge outbreak, involved American servicemen stricken with streptococcal which can cause rheumatic fever and heart disease. The servicemen, hospitalized at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, were intentionally not treated with penicillin, which at the time was still being questioned as an effective treatment for rheumatic fever.

In a 1966 TIME magazine article, Harvard University's Dr. Henry K. Beecher, who was asked by the magazine to consider Dr. Rammelkamp's experiments, stated he was "concerned about experiments that are designed for the ultimate good of society in general but may well do harm to the subject involved." Earlier Dr. Beecher had stated in the New England Journal of Medicine, that since World War II, the numbers of patients used as unwitting experimental subjects was increasing at alarming rates. Beecher told TIME editors that the increase was causing "grave consequences" but he declined to name any physicians, hospitals, or universities involved in such experiments. Beecher also did not reveal to TIME magazine, or anyone else, that he too, like other Harvard officials of his day and today, was also involved in such experiments and that for the past thirteen years, or longer, he had served the CIA as a covert informer and consultant on interrogation and mind control techniques, including the use of LSD, as well as his specialty anesthesia. [See my book for details about Dr. Henry Beecher's work for the CIA overseas, which included several surreptitious meetings with Sandoz Chemical company officials.]
Dr Frank Olson

We do not know for sure if Dr. Frank Olson was among the Fort Detrick scientists who traveled to Bainbridge for the outbreak, but we do know that members of his division, Fort Detrick's Special Operations Division, were there and that they were especially interested at the time in creating a biological warfare weapon out of the Group A streptococcus infection.

Group A streptococcus is a bacterium commonly found in the throat and skin. Infections can range from mild to life threatening. Detrick's scientists wanted to employ the bacterium through aerial aerosol spraying, quite similar to what the SO Division had done earlier with an Eyes-Only, top-secret LSD experiment in a village in Southern France. That French experiment produced better than expected results, but drew more scientific scrutiny than anticipated. To circumvent this scrutiny, and to offer viable scientific explanations for the outbreak of insanity that took over the town, the CIA dispatched scientists from the nearby Sandoz Chemical company, the same company that provided the agency with the drug used in the experimental attack on the town. [Again, see my book on the so-called Pont St. Esprit "ergot outbreak."]

From about 1948 on, through to the about 1968, Fort Detrick scientists mounted a variety of plans that involved surreptitious spraying attacks in both domestic and foreign locations. Two of the very first considered, according to once classified Army, FBI, and CIA documents were covert spraying in the New York subway system in 1949 and during the same years a simulated spraying attack using the ventilation system of the Pentagon building. Indeed, at the request of the CIA's Technical Services Section, George Hunter White, in 1952, detonated a small aerosol device that released a cloud of vaporized LSD on a New York subway car. The reported results of this test were destroyed in 1973.

Also, quite interesting, is that in 1952, Dr. Olson's Fort Detrick's SO Division undertook covert advance work, with Army microbiologists posing as state public health workers, in the Florida towns of Avon Park and Carver Park. The covert work was in preparation for secret experiments to be conducted in 1956 through to 1958 with infected mosquitoes that were released in selected low-income African American neighborhoods with dense public housing. As a result, many men, women, and children became dreadfully ill and some died. One account of these secret experiments claims: "Within weeks of the first exposures, hundreds of men, women, and children became sickened with typhoid, mysterious fevers, chills, excruciating abdominal cramps, breathing problems including bronchitis, as well as neurological disorders such as encephalitis. Yet others dropped dead and mysteriously died." [A FOIA request for documents regarding SO Division Florida experiments filed in 2002 by this author was refused because files were still classified.]

Equally noteworthy is, not long after the Florida experiments, Fort Detrick SO Division microbiologists assisted in several covert attacks against rural and agricultural areas in Cuba. These attacks involved aerial spraying and employed the swine flu virus, dengue, and other lethal bacterium. As a result, hundreds of farm animals and humans died. (Presumably, this type of covert action does not qualify as an act of terrorism against innocent populations because it is carried out against a nation that is not democratically controlled.)

After Bainbridge, from April 1952 to February 1953, Lee Harvey Oswald's half-brother returned to New York City and was assigned to the Coast Guard's Port Security Unit at Ellis Island. The Security Unit, an outgrowth of the Espionage Act of 1950, was charged with identifying, investigating, and ridding the New York harbor, longshoreman's union, and maritime industry of Communists and subversive elements.

This assignment is extremely interesting because earlier, in April 1951, one of Frank Olson's killers was being held, pending deportation, in a cell on Ellis Island. Later, at the same time that Oswald's step-brother was assigned to duty on the island, several additional major drug traffickers from France and Corsica, apprehended in a major Federal Narcotics Bureau operation headed up by George Hunter White as a dual narcotics-CIA operative, were being held at Ellis Island. Illicit drugs impounded from these arrests were transferred to a secret holding compound in New Jersey, where according to CIA documents, the drugs were disbursed to various researchers under contract with the CIA and to other unknown places. One of the French traffickers apprehended by White would be sent to a federal prison in Atlanta where he would be subjected to intense mind control experiments. Multiple drugs were used during those experiments, including morphinum, dicain, and heroin. Some readers may recall that these same drugs in 1964 were discovered listed in Lee Harvey Oswald's stepbrother's notebook. (Dicain, according to pharmacists, has never been available in the U.S. It can only be purchased overseas, and was used in Eastern Europe.)

Of equal interest, is that earlier still, during World War II, White and a number of other FBN agents assigned to the OSS, precursor to the CIA, worked very closely in New York with Port Security and the Office of Naval Intelligence on what is now commonly called Operation Underworld. This was the top-secret project that involved the freeing from prison of infamous gangster Charles "Lucky" Luciano in return for his, and the Mafia's, assistance with the Allied invasion of Italy. All of the FBN agents assigned to work on Operation Underworld went on to become covert operatives for the CIA, and would become connected in a variety of ways with Projects MK/ULTRA and MK/NAOMI.

Worth noting here is that adjunct to the Espionage Act of 1950 was the Emergency Detention Act of 1950, which created six large internment camps for the purpose of receiving thousands of persons who were to be apprehended and detained in the event of an internal security emergency. Among the six camps nationwide was a barbed-wire surrounded former Army installation in Avon Park, Florida.

After a few tumultuous weeks living with half brother Pic, Lee Harvey Oswald and his mother moved to a small, dank, basement apartment located at 1455 Sheridan Street in the Bronx. Lee complained of having to sleep on the living room's couch. At the time, Marguerite worked at Lerner's Dress Shop located at 45 East 42nd Street. Interesting to note, is that George Hunter White's wife, Albertine, called 'Tine' by those closest to her, shopped at Lerner's and had friends who worked there. Like Marguerite, Albertine also worked in the clothing business as a buyer for the Abraham & Strauss Department Store in Brooklyn at 422 Fulton Street. After working at Lerner's, Marguerite Oswald, in February 1953, went to work for Martin's Department Store in Brooklyn at 501 Fulton Street, a very short walk from where Albertine worked. Again, we find that Albertine had close friends who worked at Martin's.

Albertine and George White enjoyed living in New York City. Their apartment was at 59 West 12 Street in the Village. They had many friends, although most of those friends were mainly attracted to the couple because of Albertine's vivacious personality and charming ways. George could be quite gruff and moody. His consumption of large quantities of alcohol, mainly Gibson's gin, didn't serve to enhance his social skills. His propensity to surreptitiously dose visitors to his home with LSD, supplied to him by the CIA, also didn't help matters much. On one of several such nights, George, much to Albertine's displeasure, surreptitiously dosed a number of his and his wife's friends, sending two women to the hospital in total dismay and fear at what was happening inside their heads.

George White used Central Park and the Bronx Zoo as rendezvous points for meetings with criminal-types, confidential informers, intelligence agents, and drug traffickers. White's alias for conducting business with and for the CIA was "Morgan Hall." Morgan Hall, named after magnate J.P. Morgan, is a section of the American Museum of Natural History in Central Park, opened in 1900. It houses the minerals and gems collection. According to the Warren Commission's report, one of the first places Pic took Lee to sightsee was the Natural History Museum. George White's date book for 1953 contains numerous references to his meetings with unsavory characters. In the interest of full disclosure, several notations cite a person referred to only as "Lee," but I believe it extremely doubtful that this was 13-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald.

Lee Harvey Oswald apparently greatly disliked attending school in New York. His attendance records state that he was "excessively absent." Teachers and school officials recall that Lee was an extremely smart youngster, but that he was also "refused to salute the flag" and preferred to be alone. Oddly, some teachers recalled him to be "slight...and thin", others "well built." Once, in the spring of 1953, Lee was picked up truant at the Bronx Zoo, a place he visited often, and returned to school by an attendance officer who Oswald angrily called a "damned Yankee." (Lee's father, Robert E. Lee Oswald, was named after the famous Confederate general.) Young Lee Harvey Oswald before entering the Marine Corps at age 17 lived in 22 homes, including foster homes and an orphanage, and attended 12 schools.

With continued school absences, in April 1953, Oswald was sent to Youth House located on 12th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan. Here he was placed under psychiatric observation. Observers termed him an "emotionally isolated boy"... "who suffers under the impact of really existing emotional isolation and deprivation, lack of affection, absence of family life and rejection by a self involved and conflicted mother." He was also described as having "superior mental resources and [he] functions only slightly below his capacity level in spite of chronic truancy from school which brought him into Youth House." While at Youth House, Lee reportedly told Marguerite, "Mother, I want to get out of here. There are children in here who have killed people, and smoke. I want to get out." Lee told a social worker at Youth House that he felt like "a veil" separated his life from those of others. He said he liked having the veil there.

Some delinquent boys sent to Youth House that were deemed incorrigible went on to the nearby Bordentown Reformatory in New Jersey, a home away from home for what were then commonly called "juvenile delinquents." This is no evidence that Oswald was ever sent to Bordertown, but physicians who worked at Bordertown also performed work at Youth House. Bordertown is mentioned here because during World War II and also in 1951 through to at least 1964 it was the site of secret CIA and U.S. Army mind control experiments. Dr. Carl C. Pfeiffer of Emory University, Atlanta and the University of Illinois Medical School oversaw some of these experiments, which were intended to both study and trigger "a model psychosis characterized by visual and auditory hallucinations." Pfeiffer refined his objectives with extensive experiments in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. Questioned about these experiments in 1981, the CIA's Dr. Sidney Gottlieb said, "We learned a lot from the Atlanta experiments. The Agency learned that a person's psyche could be very disturbed by those means." (Readers can find far more about Dr. Pfeiffer's work with the CIA, and with one of Olson's assassins in my book.)

Earlier, during World War II, the Bordentown Reformatory was used by the OSS, precursor to the CIA, for truth drug experiments. These experiments included then OSS officer Capt. George White and psychiatrist Lawrence Kubie. In the late 1950s, Kubie wrote White a letter within which he "fondly" recalls their time together conducting drug experiments at Bordentown and at a state prison in Baltimore. Wrote Kubie: "I look back fondly on those days. What great fun we had." (As my book details, Dr. Kubie treated my friend, former Hollywood producer, Bill Hayward, when he was just a youth. This experience, Hayward said, was a psychological low point in his life. I sadly believe it contributed greatly toward Bill's eventual suicide.)

While at Youth House, Oswald was examined by three physicians. They were Dr. Renatus Hartogs, Chief Psychiatrist at the facility, Dr. Milton Kurian, a psychiatrist working for the New York Court system and Dr. Irving Sokolow, a Youth House psychologist. Dr. Sokolow found Oswald "withdrawn" and "presumably disinterested in school subjects", but to have an intellectual functioning level "in the upper range of bright normal intelligence."

Dr. Kurian, a former president of the American Psychiatric Association, who once wrote to Jacqueline Kennedy about Oswald after the assassination, examined Oswald, after Dr. Hartogs, at the request of a New York probation officer assigned to Oswald's Domestic Relations Court case. Dr. Kurian spoke with Oswald only once, and concluded that the youngster "was withdrawn from the real world and responded to outside pressures to a degree necessary to avoid the disturbance of his residence in a fantasy world." Kurian would later say that he felt Oswald was "mentally ill" and should have been hospitalized in a facility for children. [See John Armstrong's interview with Kurian in Harvey & Lee, page 58.]

Youth House Chief psychologist Dr. Renatus Hartogs examined Oswald on May 1, 1953. Hartogs, born and schooled in Germany with additional advanced medical schooling and degrees from New York University and the University of Montreal Medical School, became a U.S. citizen in 1945. He told the Warren Commission in 1964 that he had been "impressed" by Oswald because the young boy "was in control of his emotions" and "showed a cold, detached outer attitude."

In reply to this observation, Hartogs was leadingly asked, "As you remember what particular thing was it about Oswald that made you conclude that he had this severe personality disturbance?" Replied Hartogs, "It was his suspiciousness against adults, as far as I recall, his exquisite sensitivity in dealing with others, their opinions on his behalf. That is as far as I recall it."

It is especially intriguing that Dr. Hartogs attended some of the wild LSD sorties that Dr. Harold A. Abramson held on his Long Island estate throughout the 1950s. Dr. Abramson was the "psychologist" to whom the CIA sent Frank Olson for treatment in New York City just days before his alleged "suicide", which we now know to have been murder. Dr. Abramson was also the linchpin for many of the CIA's MK/ULTRA and MK/NAOMI drug experiments, as was the much-overlooked Dr. Robert Hyde of the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, who continued his work throughout the 1970s at the Vermont State Hospital, a facility with much less than a stellar record in the care of mentally ill patients. It is difficult to imagine that JFK assassination investigators from both the FBI and CIA, and members of the Warren Commission, were not aware of these relationships, yet they are never mentioned in documents detailing investigations.

There is more about Drs. Hartogs and Kurian. Dr. Milton Kurian, in 1964-65 was president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), a position that put him into frequent contact with Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, perhaps the most notorious of all MK/ULTRA experimenters. Cameron, who had been APA president in 1952-53, was an earlier founder, along with French LSD researcher Dr. Jean Delay, of the World Psychiatric Association. Files from the early 1950s reveal that this fledging association received surreptitious assistance from the CIA. Dr. Cameron's work with LSD and "psychic driving" at McGill University's Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal was the subject of a high-profile lawsuit brought in the late 1970s that was spurred into action by the 1975 Rockefeller Commission revelations about Frank Olson.

It appears that Dr. Hartogs also held himself out as an expert on the occult. In June 1969, Dr. Hartogs appeared on a popular NBC-TV program, First Tuesday. The program focused on the subject of "Witches and Warlocks" and explored the question of why young people were so interested in occultism. Explained Dr. Hartogs: "The occult holds promise that no one else in our society can give. It helps the young person in his hopelessness." Added Hartogs: "Black magic enables the young person to indulge in some form of aggression. It has a beneficial effect since it releases his pent-up hostilities and he can go on to maturity." Over the years there have been several reports that Dr. Hartogs was also an aficionado of magic and that he knew famous New York stage magician John Mulholland, who made a brief but notable appearance in the Frank Olson case.

In 1975, a New York jury convicted Dr. Renatus Hartogs of malpractice. The jury awarded $350,000 in damages to Julie Roy, a secretary at Esquire magazine whom Dr. Hartogs had sexually exploited while she was his patient. At the time of the case, Hartogs wrote a widely read advice column for Cosmopolitan magazine. In 1976, Julie Roy co-author with New York Times reporter Lucy Freeman, a widely read book about her case, which was quickly made into a TV movie. Perhaps coincidentally, eleven years earlier, Dr. Hartogs had also co-authored a book with Lucy Freeman, The Two Assassins, about Oswald and Jack Ruby.

And then there is the matter of hypnotism. Highly respected JFK assassination investigator and author Dick Russell in his excellent book, On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, reveals that Dr. Hartogs may have been adept at hypnotism, something never before reported anywhere. This information came to Russell from Dr. Milton V. Kline, a well-known authority on hypnotism, who had worked closely with the CIA on its Project Artichoke and MK/ULTRA hypnosis-related interrogation and mind control programs. Kline told Russell that Dr. Hartogs, after losing his license to practice psychiatry in the Julie Roy case, "set up shop as a hypnotist in New York."

Kline also informed Russell that Hartogs had been involved "in some kind of government consultation", and then days later reported that Hartogs may have been involved in the 1950s with Dr. Sidney Malitz, a psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), located only about ten blocks from where young Oswald's New York address. In the early 1950s, hypnotist George Estabrooks wrote to CIA director Allen Dulles about the covert merits of hypnosis. Stated Estabooks, "The hypnotic state places a veil of sorts between the subject and the real world."

Dr. Malitz worked under Dr. Paul Hoch, NYSPI Research Director. Hoch, a German who came to the U.S. with assistance from the Dulles family, went on to become Gov. Nelson Rockefeller's and New York's Commissioner of Mental Health. In the early 1950s, Hochwas very much involved in experiments at the Bordentown Reformatory. As early as 1948, Hoch cited his Bordentown involvement in a book he edited, Failures in Psychiatric Treatment. Through Dr. Hoch, Malitz was involved in a number of covert contracts with the CIA and U.S. Army to perform experiments with psychosurgery, electroconvulsive therapy, LSD, mescaline, and other drugs. Kline told writer Russell that Hartogs worked alongside Malitz on some of these experiments.

Apparently, however, what both Kline and Russell did not know, or perhaps that Kline chose to not reveal to Russell, was that at least three of the covert contracts Dr. Malitz worked under were with Fort Detrick's Special Operations Division, the unit that Frank Olson headed up at this very same time. As my Olson book details, months prior to Olson's murder, a NYSPI patient named Harold Blauer died as a result of one of these Fort Detrick funded experiments. Blauer was unwittingly injected with a massive dose of mescaline that immediately sent his body into violent shock. Later, one NYSPI physician involved in the experiment said the Institute knew so little about mescaline that "for all we knew it could have been dog piss we were injecting [Blauer] with." In early 1954, as documented in my book, the Pentagon and CIA colluded to suppress the government's involvement in the Blauer's death and conspired to put strong pressure on one of the Blauer family's attorney to not pursue any legal action.

And the story goes on.
Some of the above material, as well as ample supportive material, is taken from the author's book: A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments [TrineDay Publishers, November 2009].